Zoo elephants get more roaming area in May

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just a week after Rama the elephant died at the Oregon Zoo, a citizens oversight committee reported the Elephant Lands Project is on track to be finished this fall.

In fact, officials said, elephants get access to new roaming areas beginning in May. The makeover includes about four acres of more space and improved facilities like replacing the decades-old elephant barn

The new area is paid for with the 2008 taxpayer-passed zoo bond. Taxpayers in the metro area are paying an average of $17 a year for the bond.

The measure also specifically calls for improving the polar bear, monkey and ape habitats, replace the veterinarian hospital facilities and other items.

The measure does mention more humane conditions for the elephants but does not mention any offsite facility. Metro set aside $6 million from the bond for an off-site elephant reserve.

Zoo officials told KOIN 6 News they spent about $100,000 identifying and checking out the feasibility of a site at Roslyn Lake in Clackamas County.

The committee recommended Metro make a final decision whether to move forward with an elephant reserve by the end of the year.

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